6 Coolest, Weirdest and Funniest Job Recruitment Strategies

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A job ad inside a furniture box. / IKEA

Summer is here, and beer brand Natural Light marked the occasion by kicking off the search for its summer intern with a deeply bro-dacious recruitment video.

Far from seeking the usual references and grades, Natty is looking for someone who’s “well-rounded and fun-loving.” We’re not like other brands, the video seems to be saying. We’re a cool brand. But this “How do you do, fellow kids?” tactic isn’t out of the ordinary. Turns out many companies use unconventional hiring strategies to find the best talent. Here are some of the weirdest and funniest recruitment campaigns.

1. Flat Pack Applications // IKEA

Here’s a fairly simple way to inform people who love your brand that you’re hiring: Let them know when they buy something. That’s exactly what IKEA Australia did in 2011, tucking job ads into every pack of furniture sold. All it cost them was the printing, and they received thousands of applications, resulting in more than 200 new hires.  

2. Iron Chef // MGM Grand

When the MGM Grand in Las Vegas found itself in need of a new head chef for one of its restaurants, it took inspiration from Iron Chef and turned the recruitment process into a cooking competition. Catering staff from each of the hotel’s 16 restaurants formed teams and were tasked with creating a four-course menu, which had to include a random preselected ingredient. The eventual winner of the competition was a sous chef from the casino’s 24-hour coffee shop.

3. Are You the One? // OgilvyOne

In a bid to find the “world’s greatest salesperson,” OgilvyOne, an arm of global advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, issued a challenge to applicants: Try to sell us an ordinary red brick. The best pitch won a trip to Cannes Lions and a fellowship at the agency.

4. Can You Find It? // GCHQ

gchq can you find it in article

During World War II, Bletchley Park used newspaper crossword puzzles as a recruitment tool for code breakers. In 2013, the British intelligence organization GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) updated this approach with a puzzle that aimed to find the best new cybersecurity talent. The “Can You Find It?” brainteaser comprised 29 blocks of letters from which candidates had to decipher five answers. These answers then led the people who had cracked the puzzle to an online treasure hunt, with the winners finding themselves eligible for a number of new positions at the agency. Around 400,000 people attempted the puzzle, with a 1% success rate.

5. Brick Factor // Lego

The master model builders at Legoland Discovery Center must be imaginative and creative. So what better way to find talent than by conducting a Lego building contest? Brick Factor is Lego’s open audition process where hopeful applicants present their creations to a judging panel, which includes kids who make up the brand’s target demographic. A live Brick Factor event in Shenyang, China, in 2018 drew a crowd of more than 1,000 spectators.

6. // Google

Following a series of billboards, brainteasers and other recruitment stunts that didn’t really work, Google implemented a pretty basic, straightforward hiring process. But on the side, it also keeps an eye out for talent based on—yep, you guessed it—people’s search history. Computer engineer Max Rosett stumbled upon this secret recruitment tool in 2015 while googling something for a project. He got an alert that said “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?” This led him to, a website that served up a series of time-sensitive programming prompts. Once he completed them all, Rosett was asked for his contact information, and a Google recruiter reached out to him. “ is a brilliant recruiting tactic,” he wrote in The Hustle. “Google used it to identify me before I had even applied anywhere else, and they made me feel important while doing so. At the same time, they respected my privacy and didn’t reach out to me without explicitly requesting my information.”

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